Drunk driver who killed Nelson couple's baby gets prison time

A Nelson man who ploughed into a car while driving drunk, killing a young couple's baby, has been sentenced to more than three years in jail.

On April 30, 2018, Andrew Fleming was driving home from drinking at a friends' house in Tahunanui.

His blood alcohol level was 255 micograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood - over three times the legal limit. 

As he was heading home, Jared Welsh and Ash Reid were driving in the opposite direction, also heading home. Ash was 30 weeks pregnant, with a child that the couple had been told they were unable to conceive.

Their child was "greatly anticipated", Judge Tony Zohrab told the court.

Fleming crossed the centre line at the peak of Bishopdale Hill, and ploughed into the couple's car head on, severely injuring them.

Reid and Welsh were rushed to hospital, where Reid underwent an emergency caesarean section.

Lochie in hospital
Lochie in hospital Photo credit: Supplied

Their son, Lochie, was delivered 10 weeks early. He survived for five days before the bleeding in his brain took him from a world he barely knew.

"This crash, the havoc that has been wreaked on the parents and the wider family, is infinite," Judge Zohrab told Fleming. "This process will bring to an end your involvement to a degree, but for them, the suffering continues on for the rest of their lives."

Fleming is not a stranger to driving under the influence, with two previous convictions under his belt from 2008 and 2010.

 

Initially, he pleaded not guilty, but later changed his plea to guilty to causing death driving with excess blood alcohol and two counts of causing injury driving with excess blood alcohol.

On Thursday, Fleming was sentenced to three years and one month in prison, plus five years and six months of disqualification from driving.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz